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Hottest Restaurant Queensland: Esquire


The Australian Hot50 Restaurant Awards 2012

Ryan Squires is a keen angler. You can see it in the respect he pays fish at his riverside CBD restaurant; coral trout sashimi with perilla and fresh wasabi leaf, or fragile cuttlefish curls cooked in seawater, served with baby peas and a Meyer lemon gel. And Squires is a bit of a fish out of water himself, too; Esquire is so not your typical Brisbane restaurant. Only a chef would create something like this, for himself, knowing the popularity prize would always go elsewhere.

Lean, spare, elegant and very Scandinavian, Squires’ food takes similar cues. He’s studied the form at all the influential internationals, but his whimsical style is his own. Because, while Squires likes to play with your head a bit, he’s not having a lend.

This post-molecular, laterally thought tucker (Campari communion wafer, anyone?) is as delicious as it is modern. Squires is an envelope-pusher who can actually cook. The dining room reflects the individual. Which is to say, this may not be a place to take grandma on Mother’s Day. Unless, of course, grandma can’t stop talking about her visits to Noma, Mugaritz and WD-50.

Must-eat: curds and whey ice cream


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